Charity Fundraising Manager to Artist

What was your role in your old job?

Managing teams of street fundraisers.

What is/are your new role(s)?

Making art.

Why did you change?

I was sick of the work, having done it every day for a few years and my creativity had been stifled for a while. I felt I was wasting my time. Despite the thoroughly positive nature of the work and all the good that comes from street-fundraising I was doing repetitive stuff that felt increasingly like it was an obstacle to my finding time to do what I really loved.

Are you happy with the change?

Very.

What do you miss and what don't you miss?

I miss the day-to-day camaraderie a bit, though it's a very small price to pay for having my days to myself to do as I wish. I guess I now look more to my social life for my social needs wheres it was easy to get all that from my workmates and get a bit socially lazy outside of work sometimes before. It felt good to be raising so much money for charity every day too and I enjoyed the times when I felt I was helping develop people.

I don't miss the day-in-day-out routine, the windowless office space I worked in, the stress, the continual running around after people who (like myself) weren't really suited to regular working lives to do their jobs properly and the feeling that I was wasting my time. I certainly don't miss that feeling of waking up and knowing I have to go to work and perform certain tasks.

How did you go about making the change?

I looked into what I needed to do to get a market stall from which to sell my art, guessed at what prices I thought people would pay in that environment and used a selection of my pictures printed from the computer to sell as numbered limited edition prints. I ran the stall for a few weeks before leaving, though had already given my notice, which came about from just not being able to carry on in the job due to boredom and eagerness to get on with my life properly. I didn't really plan the jump, just leapt and put trust in what I was doing. It felt very right and I trusted to that and worked pretty hard to make it happen.

I ran the stall for a few weeks before leaving, though had already given my notice, which came about from just not being able to carry on in the job due to boredom.

I didn't really plan the leaving, just jumped and put trust in what I was doing. It felt very right and I trusted to that and worked hard to make it happen.

What was the most difficult thing about changing?

Some worry about income, as the first weeks were slow, but I found ways of bringing in bits and pieces of cash to cover the slow market days (I only do it one day a week). Apart from that it was a sweet delight in every way.

What help did you get?

Support from friends, but no financial aid.

What have you learnt in the process?

That it's good to take risks when you feel something is right to do.

That life will conspire to help you when you put trust in it.

Bringing in a regular income is all very well, but we don't need as much as we think most of the time and in truth, quality of time as well as the feeling of being independent and that I'm following what I'm meant to be doing, far outweighs the benefits of knowing the paycheque is coming in at the end of the month.

What do you wish you'd done differently?

Nothing, though I can see now it might have been wise to have left my job with at least a little bit of money in the bank... I guess I could have spent a bit more time planning but looking back now I'm glad I did it the way I did, a bit like an idiot.

What would you advise others to do in the same situation?

If you're not enjoying your job and have an ambition to do something important to you, I'd say it's not a bad idea to consider the fact that you only have a few years of life and you really can choose what you do with the time you have. As cheesy as it may sound, trusting in yourself and going with your heart is far better than sitting and wondering what might have happened.

If you have talent or a passion for something and enough belief that you can do it, all you need to do is get on with it and stick at it and before too long you'll be doing what you love. I can't emphasise enough how good it feels to be free of a limiting working life. Start now!

What lessons could you take from Dan's story to use in your own career change? Let us know in the comments below. 

Plus, if you know someone who's make a successful shift into work they love, we want to hear from you. Drop us a line to hello@careershifters.org and you could win a £25 voucher to spend at Amazon!